LETTERS – Graduated income tax

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Graduated Income Tax
There are many projects which would benefit our state if only we could afford them: avoiding crises like the one in Flint, fixing roads and bridges, helping to preserve the Great Lakes.

One of the most important is education. A recent study found that no state “has squeezed school spending more in recent decades than Michigan.” The study attributed that squeeze to tax cuts, and noted “a corresponding drop in student achievement.”
“No other state is close to a decline of this magnitude” (TC Record-Eagle, 1/24/19).
According to Bridge Magazine (1/23/19), during the last quarter century “Michigan ranks dead last in the nation in school funding growth.”
From 2003-2015, “Michigan also ranked 50th in growth in school performance.”
Article IX: Section 7 of the Michigan Constitution reads: “No income tax graduated as to rate or base shall be imposed by the state or any of its subdivisions.”
Thus Michigan is required to charge only flat taxes—where one who makes $25 million pays the same percentage as one who makes $25 thousand.
Some might think a graduated income tax unfair, but it is quite fair when you consider that any higher percentage paid applies not to one’s total income but only to income that falls into higher taxable increments.
In other words, everybody pays the same percentage on their first $25K of income, their second $25K, and so forth.
Who would begrudge so small a payment for so large a payoff?
Barbara Abbott
Lake Leelanau